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U.S. Military Going Green

The Army is currently developing tanks that run on hydrogen fuel cells

The U.S. military often struggles – unsuccessfully – to supply enough batteries for troops’ equipment.  GPS units and radios demand a lot of energy, so a sustainable source would be really beneficial.

That’s why the U.S. Army has created the Rucksack Enhanced Portable Power System (REPPS), which collects solar energy for the troops in Afghanistan, where there are high levels of sunlight.

The REPPS features a 62-watt, anti-glint solar panel blanket tucked into a backpack.  Not only can the system recharge batteries in a matter of hours, it can also be hooked up to electronic devices, providing them with more power.

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Engineering Artificial Skin

Human skin is extraordinarily sensitive – our fingertips can perceive extremely small differences in pressure, texture, and temperature. Mimicking this ability artificially is a real technological challenge, but fortunately electrical engineers at Stanford and UC Berkeley seem to be up to the task.

At Stanford, a team led by chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao has developed an artificial skin that is reportedly over 1,000 times more sensitive than its human counterpart. It consists of a thin rubber material placed between two parallel electrodes. When an object touches the skin and compresses the rubber, the surrounding electrodes register this pressure and convert it to electrical signals.

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Spray-On Solar Cells Could Supercharge Your Windows

Installing solar panels on the roof of buildings has become very en vogue recently.  But in a few years charging up your home might be cheaper and easier than ever.

The Norwegian company EnSol AS has developed a thin, transparent solar film that can be sprayed onto windows and other surfaces, rendering them able to absorb the sun’s energy just as efficiently as solar panels.

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New Mall in Kazakhstan is World’s
Largest Tent

Winter temperatures in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, are extremely frigid, averaging around negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit. But in summer, the mercury regularly soars to a sizzling 95 degrees. So when top British architect Norman Foster designed Astana’s newly-opened Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, he opted for a unique energy-efficient material that would accommodate both seasonal extremes.

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Smart Traffic Lights Think For Themselves

Find waiting at an empty intersection annoying?

Your driving frustrations may soon be relieved, if city planners adopt a new self-organizing system for traffic lights.

European engineers have designed and tested a system that would give each traffic signal a sensor, to read the current traffic situation, and a computer chip, to calculate the expected flow of vehicles and then determine how long the light should stay green.

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